The Chinese think-tank’s warning that India is amassing piles of weapons and considers Pakistan a main threat is, in fact, a call for caution for Mian Nawaz Sharif, the prospective Prime Minister. To meet this threat, India has stressed strict vigilance. Mian Nawaz has, therefore, to move with measured steps, taking Foreign Office and other political parties in the country into confidence and carefully watching New Delhi’s reaction to his attempts at mending fences with it and giving it a well-thought-out response. After all, it is a matter of the country’s security. Already, Mian Sahib’s off-the-cuff invitation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to be present at his oath-taking ceremony has met with an expected rebuff. To begin with, it was a highly inappropriate proposal because of the low to which the bilateral relations had sunk, mainly because of New Delhi’s misconceived retaliatory policy, be it the alleged cross border intrusion or be it the beating up of a prisoner.
The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, as quoted by an Indian news agency, has prepared a comprehensive report in which the issue has been highlighted. India has become the largest importer of armament in the global context, according to this think-tank. As its economy has taken huge strides, India has shown a marked tendency to acquire more and more weaponry. The academy also mentions the development that India has itself proudly announced that it is training its forces for a short-run fight on two fronts, Pakistani and Chinese. That, along with its expansion of deep-sea navy, poses a threat to Beijing.
We have no doubt that the new government that is to assume power in a couple of weeks would take these factors into account and would, under no circumstance, compromise Pakistan’s interests. Undoubtedly, there is need to improve relations with New Delhi; both regional and global factors are too compelling to deny that. Better ties would pave the way for cooperation to the mutual benefit of both the countries and result in progress and prosperity. But, side by side, the incoming Prime Minister would have to ensure that steady progress is made on the core dispute of Kashmir, water diversion and several other issues. Other than Kashmir and the water diversion issue that is linked to it, the rest of them are of a relatively minor nature. But it seems that India has decided not to resolve any of them till Pakistan succumbs to its pressure of acknowledging its hegemony in the subcontinent. Mian Nawaz must make overtures of peace and friendship, but not one-sided and not with the simplistic attempt to placate, rather than truly move forward on long standing issues bedevilling relation between two neighbours.